A youth pastor in Shawnee, Kansas, has been arrested after allegedly stabbing his wife, four sons, and daughter before setting their home on fire. Matthew Lee Richards is facing multiple charges, including attempted murder and aggravated arson, according to the Shawnee Police Department.
The incident occurred in Shawnee, a city located about 10 miles southwest of Kansas City, Missouri. Firefighters and police responded to a disturbance and house fire at 3:47 a.m. on Saturday. The fire in the basement was quickly extinguished, and seven people, including Richards, were taken to the hospital.
The victims, identified as Richards’ wife, a 19-year-old adult child, and four minor children, all suffered from varying degrees of laceration injuries. While the 19-year-old and two of the minor children have been treated and released, Richards’ wife and two other children remain hospitalized.
No motive has been disclosed for the attack. Richards has been a youth pastor at Crossroads Christian Church in Shawnee since 2016 and has been married to his wife since 2003. The church’s senior pastor, Kurt Witten, released a statement on Facebook asking for prayers for the Richards family.
The neighborhood was filled with fire crews, police investigators, and detectives throughout Saturday. Neighbors expressed shock and sadness over the incident, recalling seeing the family playing together outside.
In addition to his role as a youth pastor, Richards is also a 7th-grade English teacher at Christ Prep Academy. He had previously taught at schools in Austria and Dallas, Texas.
Richards is currently being held at the Johnson County Jail on a $5 million bond. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Monday afternoon.